The Unpredictables – Part IV: 1970s

Featured Image

Pakistan as a country has been through a number of highs and lows since traumatic partition in 1947 and its cricket has followed the similar pattern, showing how this sport is embedded in social, political and cultural facets of the country. Initially dispersed, unrecognised, underfunded and weak, Pakistan’s cricket team grew to become a major force in world cricket. If cricket is known for its glorious uncertainties, our team is even more notorious for its unpredictability. In this series of blogs we shall dig into social, political, cultural and sporting history of cricket in Pakistan.

Read previous parts here:

 Part I – 1940s: Partition and Founding Stones of Cricket in Pakistan (1947 – 1950)

 Part II – 1950s: Pakistan announces itself to cricket world (1951 – 1960) 

Part III – 1960s: The Lost Decade (1961 – 1970)


Part IV – 1970s: Revival of Pakistan cricket (1971 – 1980)

Pakistan a nation was at its lowest ebb since gaining independence. The political turmoil continued to worsen after the general elections of 1970. All the prospects of political compromise remained poor as Sheikh Mujib remain adamant on his demand for near-total independence: East Pakistan would run all its affairs, including trade and defence, with the sole exception of foreign policy. Bhutto rejected these demands and Six-Point Charted of Awami League. General Yahya suspended the National Assembly in March 1971 with no dates for its restoration. Sheikh Mujib called for civil disobedience and Yahya announced him traitor and ordered Pakistan army to reconquer East Pakistan. East Pakistan fell into civil war.

Sheikh Mujib and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

Sheikh Mujib and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

General Yahya Khan

General Yahya Khan

Pakistan’s tour of England and disappearance of East from Pakistan

Pakistan’s tour of England in 1971, in doubt until the last moment because of the threat of demonstrations and the political situation in Pakistan, was an undoubted success from the playing point of view, even if the Test series was lost by a bare defeat with two matches drawn.

19-year-old Imran Khan being introduced to the Queen of England by skipper Intikhab Alam, 1971

19-year-old Imran Khan being introduced to the Queen of England by skipper Intikhab Alam, 1971

The tour saw the launching of a new batting star who would dominate the Pakistan cricket scene for many years. Zaheer Abbas was then a bespectacled gangly young man who resembled an absent-minded professor. In the first test match at Edgbaston he scored 274, an innings that had experts in rapture. Pakistan scored 608-7 in first innings and made England follow on for the first time against Pakistan. Pakistan ware on the edge of a famous victory, but rain and bad light interfered heavily with the last two days and match was abandoned with England five wickets down and 26 behind.

Zaheer Abbas

Zaheer Abbas

Pakistan lost the series narrowly losing at Leeds, after many twists and turns, by 24 runs but Pakistan had done enough to earn the respect of the cricket world. One other player made his test debut on this tour. A schoolboy called Imran Khan. He bowled fast with a slinging action, with control on neither length nor line. The potential was evident but no one could have foretold that he would one-day become the world’s most charismatic cricketer and who would turn around Pakistan cricket and make them world champions.

Pakistan team returned to a nation confronting mortal threat. As Indian forces gave first covert and then open support to Mukti Bahini guerrillas, Yahya Khan’s army began to lose control of East Pakistan. India declared war and its army marched into East Pakistan, where it overwhelmed the already exhausted Pakistan army in barely two weeks. On December 17, 1971, East Pakistan got separated from West Pakistan.

East Pakistan got separated from West Pakistan in 1971.

East Pakistan got separated from West Pakistan in 1971.

For the next 6 years the country and its cricket were to be run by men with powerful minds, strong personalities and a reform agenda at home and overseas, but also with a gift for making enemies: ZA Bhutto and his old friend and new political follower AH Kardar.

AH Kardar and ZA Bhutto discussing matters of state at Gaddafi stadium. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne

AH Kardar and ZA Bhutto discussing matters of state at Gaddafi stadium. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne)

Kardar in power, Crash-bang ODI cricket and re-birth of Pakistan cricket

Pakistan became cricket’s pariah nation in 1960s. Just as Bhutto rebuilt the country’s international reputation in the 1970s, so Kardar restored Pakistan as a major Test-playing nation. Kardar used his period in charge of Pakistan cricket to galvanise decisive change. He was the first serious cricketer, the first to bring energy and vision to the post, the one of the few with irreproachable personal integrity.

The musical chairs of captaincy continued. In 1972-73 Pakistan toured Australia and New Zealand, losing to Ian Chappell’s Australia by the extravagant margins of 3 – 0 but winning the series against New Zealand. For his efforts, Inthikab Alam, the captain was removed and Majid Khan appointed in his place when Tony Lewis brought an England team. But when Pakistan toured England in 1974, Inthikab Alam was restored as captain. Although the test series was drawn, the team went through the tour undefeated and winning the prudential one-day series 2-0. No other team since Donald Bradman’s all conquering Australians in 1948 had achieved this.

Majid Khan caught Marsh bowled Walker 158. Melbourne 1972. The not-out batsman is Mushtaq Muhammad. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne.)

Majid Khan caught Marsh bowled Walker 158. Melbourne 1972. The not-out batsman is Mushtaq Muhammad. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne.)

Sadiq Mohammad, Wasim Bari, Aftab Baloch, Zaheer Abbas, Asif Masood and Majid Khan on the 1974 tour of England. Masood, wearing the check trousers, has a bowling run-up that was compared by John Arlott to ‘Groucho Marx chasing a pretty waitress’. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne.)

Sadiq Mohammad, Wasim Bari, Aftab Baloch, Zaheer Abbas, Asif Masood and Majid Khan on the 1974 tour of England. Masood, wearing the check trousers, has a bowling run-up that was compared by John Arlott to ‘Groucho Marx chasing a pretty waitress’. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne.)

Cricket was changing. The one-day or limited overs cricket that had started as a sideshow was getting to be attractive but was still regarded as crash-bang cricket, a bit of a slog but it was beginning to attract crowds. The first World Cup was played in England in 1975 and Pakistan was captained by Asif Iqbal. The tournament turned out to be a disaster for Pakistan and it exited the tournament in anguish. The West Indies won the tournament in a canter.

The world cup teams pose with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip and Prince Charles – Getty Images

The world cup teams pose with Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip and Prince Charles – Getty Images

Pakistan may have struggled on international stage but there was plenty of domestic cricket to console fans. Moreover, under Kardar the administrative structure of BCCP improved as well. His first priority was to give the Board a permanent headquarters and a well-staff secretariat, so the BCCP was moved to the newly built stadium in Lahore.

Kardar turned to Pakistan’s major banks and companies to finance Pakistan domestic cricket, built new stadium and facilities. He created new first-class and later one-day competitions. In 1974-75 Pakistan saw its first one-day competition, the Servis Cup, with 6 matches.

Kardar was the first Pakistani to play an active role at the International Cricket Conference (renamed from Imperial Cricket Conference in 1965).He brought a difference style as the time for snoring had ended and roaring had to start. He took bold steps. Idea of neutral umpires was first floated by him. Limiting bouncers in an over was also his idea. He was the first one to tackle issue of veto power of England and Australia, although it was removed in 1993. He also pushed for full membership of Sri Lanka.

Mushtaq the new captain, players’ revolt, emergence of Pakistan’s greatest batsman and end of Kardar’s era

Kardar’s ambitions suffered a blow after 1975 World Cup setback. He tried to resume cricketing relations with India but it came too soon after 1971 war, and Pakistan was left with an empty international timetable.

Gap was filled by tour of Sri Lanka which proved disastrous. Pakistan, led by Intikhab Alam, lost both ODIs where 2 test series was drawn 1-1. When New Zealand arrived in Pakistan in the autumn of 1976, he was replaced by Mushtaq Muhammad. This moved would be heavy with consequence.

Mushtaq immediately established himself as a more assertive kind of captain. He insisted on getting players he wanted and stood up for them in unimaginable ways. He has been many a time overlooked due to Pakistan’s subsequent achievements but he is one of greatest captains right along with Kardar and Imran.

When New Zealand came to Pakistan and a young Karachi lad made his test debut. His name was Javed Miandad. He announced his arrival by making 163 at Lahore on debut. He followed it up by making 206 at Karachi, the youngest player at age 19 years and 141 days to make the test double hundred. He was described as the batting find of the decade.

A young Javed Miandad on his way to notch his first Test century.

A young Javed Miandad on his way to notch his first Test century.

However, the series was overshadowed by the revolt of players led by Mushtaq Muhammad. The key demands of the players were the rise in allowances and match fee which had actually been reduced as compared to last home series against West Indies in 1974-75. Pakistan won the series but no bonus was announced by BCCP. During this period Kardar had also fallen out with Bhutto. His role in Pakistan cricket was nearly over. He was a man out of time. As a player and as an administrator, he had brought the national game he loved with such passion to hitherto unimaginable heights.

Pakistan takes on mighty Australians and West Indians

In controversial circumstances Mushtaq Muhamamd led Pakistani side to Australia in 1976-77. The most striking point was the balance between youth and age. Team had outstanding players of 60s – Majid Khan, Asif Iqbal, Wasim Bari, Zaheer Abbas and Sarfraz Nawaz who were joined by a new generation, of whom Javed Miandad and Imran Khan were soon to turn into giants.

The Pakistanis arrived with possibly the best batting combination in Test cricket, but by the time of their departure the team had in Imran Khan a fast bowler who had established himself as undoubtedly one of the finest in the world. Pakistan drew first test and lost second test badly. However the third test was a turning point.

As Sydney test, Imran unleashed a legendary spell of fast bowling. He had remodelled his action into something classical and fearless. He shot out 6 Australians supported by 3 wickets from Sarfraz. Pakistan were 111-4 when Asif Iqbal played an innings of his life making 120 runs, supported by debutant Haroon Rashid’s 57 and Miandad’s 64. With a lead of 140 Imran took a further 6 wickets to win the match.

A 19-year-old Javed Miandad gives a 23-year-old Imran Khan a shoulder massage during Pakistan's Test match against Australia in Sydney in December 1976.

A 19-year-old Javed Miandad gives a 23-year-old Imran Khan a shoulder massage during Pakistan’s Test match against Australia in Sydney in December 1976.

After proving themselves equal to challenge in Australia, Pakistan want to West Indies after 18 years which proved to an interesting series between two evenly matched teams. Each of the five Tests had its particular merit, the West Indies comfortably winning the last to secure a narrow two-one advantage in the rubber. Pakistan’s outstanding performers were the batsmen Majid Khan and Wasim Raja and the fast-medium bowlers, Imran Khan and Sarfraz Nawaz.

A WI feature on Pakistan team’s visit to a WI nightclub during the 1977 Pak-WI tour. Seen from left: Reserve wicketkeeper, Taslim Arif, Stylish Pakistani opener, Majid Khan and Pakistan fast bowler, Sikandar Bakht.

A WI feature on Pakistan team’s visit to a WI nightclub during the 1977 Pak-WI tour. Seen from left: Reserve wicketkeeper, Taslim Arif, Stylish Pakistani opener, Majid Khan and Pakistan fast bowler, Sikandar Bakht.

Pakistan cricket team in WI in 1977

Pakistan cricket team in WI in 1977

Of huge imprortance for the future, their overseas victories in Australia and West Indies were watched by viewers in Pakistan for the first time, through state television. Although most of this team had been at odds with Kardar, and ultimately driven him from office, the status they had earned for Pakistan cricket must have given him satisfaction. It was left to his successor to deal with Kerry Packer.

Coup d’etat, The Packer revolution and cricket resumes with India

Two grave crises faced Pakistan cricket. On July 5, 1977 General Zia, Chief of general staff, declared martial law, ordering arrest of Bhutto and his cabinet and promised election in 90 days. This resulted in drastic changes in management of Pakistan cricket.

The coup was accompanied by Packer revolution in cricket. In May 1977, news broke that the Australian businessman Kerry packer was to stage a breakaway competition in defiance of the national authorities. Although his initiatives were short lived, it changed cricket forever. Day-night matches, white balls, coloured kits, floodlights – the brilliance of the Packer packages permanently changed the way the game has been shown on TV and sold to public.

Source: ESPNCricinfo

Source: ESPNCricinfo

Key players went to play Kerry Packer series which included Asif Iqbal, Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Haroon Rahid, Majid Khan, Mushtaq Mohammad, Sarfraz Nawaz, Taslim Arif and Zaheer Abbas. Packer players were banned. England toured Pakistan in 1977. The three test match series ended 0-0 whereas England won three match ODI series 2-1.

15

Kerry Packer

Kerry Packer

After the series lesson was learnt and ban was lifted in order to restore a strong national team. Arif Abbasi was asked to handle negotiations. He would later transform PCB and country’s cricket.

After a gap of 17 years, India led by Bishen Bedi toured Pakistan. Mushtaq Mohammad was Pakistan’s captain; the tradition of changing captains was being maintained. Pakistan won the series 2-0, a series that was dominated by Zaheer Abbas but saw two fantastic run chases at Lahore and at Karachi in which, apart from Zaheer Abbas – Asif Iqbal, Javed Miandad, and Imran were also involved. Bishen Bedi, a great left arm spin bowler is remembered in Pakistan as the bowler who was hit for two consecutive sixes by Imran Khan at Karachi and which enabled Pakistan to win the match. Sadly, Bishen Bedi lost his job as captain of India.

The Ladies stand at the Gaddafi Stadium, Pakistan v India, second Test, Lahore, October 1978-79.(Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne.)

The Ladies stand at the Gaddafi Stadium, Pakistan v India, second Test, Lahore, October 1978-79.(Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne.)

After the triumph over India, Mushtaq led his team to New Zealand and Australia. Pakistan won the series against New Zealand 1-0. However, the short Australian series was packed with brilliance and controversies which include infamous run out of Rodney Hogg by Javed Miandad, run-out of non-striker Sikander Bakht for backing up too far and handling the ball out of Andrew Hilditch. However, the moment of series was Melbourne Test – Australia was cruising to victory (303-3 on course for target of 382) until Sarfraz produced a sensational spell of 7 wickets for 1 run with an old ball. Later this performance would be ascribed to the fiendish Pakistani invention of reverse swing.

Pakistan falters again in World Cup and defeat in India

Politically the situation was tense in Pakistan. Since taking over General Zia had the former Prime Ministers ZA Bhutto controversially tried executed by Supreme Court on April 4, 1979. This is viewed by many as judicial murder of the most popular and strong civilian leader of Pakistan ever.

ODI was gaining popularity with each passing day. Second Cricket World Cup was held in England in 1979. Asif Iqbal was made captain for the tournament. Pakistan began with easy wins against Canada and still Packerless Australia. However, in third group match Pakistan choked after reducing England to 118-8, Bob Taylor and Bob Willis were allowed to put on 43. Pakistan collapsed to 34 for 6. Asif, Wasim Raja and Imran put on fight but Pakistan lost the match.

They were still through to semi-finals but unfortunately against WI. WI put on 293 but Pakistan got all out on 250 with 4 overs still to go.

Teams led by their captains in World Cup 1979

Teams led by their captains in World Cup 1979

Asif was most consistent performer during world cup which ensured he remained captain for tour of India. Pakistan lost the six-test series 2-0. The weakened attack never bowled out India twice and India escaped several times from losing positions. There were news of quarrels and detachment among team members. Asif lost captaincy after the series.

Javed Miandad becomes captain

Defeat by India in 1979-80 was viewed in Pakistan as a national disaster and led to changes at the top. Asif Iqbal was removed from captaincy and General Azhar Khan from BCCP’s presidency. Air Marshal Nur Khan was appointed President of BCCP. Javed Miandad was appointed Pakistan’s new captain. His reign began well; however, unfortunately he was unable to overcome the resentment of senior players later.

Javed Miandad led Pakistan against Greg Chappell’s Australians, an eminently forgettable series played on flat, lifeless pitches apart from Karachi, where Pakistan won. Greg Chappell scored a double century at Faisalabad and so did Taslim Arif for Pakistan. Denis Lille took only one wicket on that tour. A worse advertisement for test cricket was hard to imagine. The next series against West Indies was better but it was lost by Pakistan.

The world cricket had already entered into its golden era. Next task ahead for Javed Miandad was to lead his side on tour of Australia in 1981-82.

 

Wisden’s Player of Year during decade of 70s: Zaheer Abbas (1972)

 

Continued…

Next in ‘The Upredictables’ series: 1980s: The Asian cricket tigers take on the world

 


Sources:

  • Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack
  • ‘Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan’ by Peter Oborne
  • ‘The Pakistani Masters’ by Bill Ricquier
  • ESPNcricinfo archives (www.espncricinfo.com)
  • ‘Cricket Cauldron: The Turbulent Politics of Sport in Pakistan’ by Shaharyar M. Khan and Ali Khan
  • Imran Khan’s Autobiography ‘Pakistan: A Personal History’
  • ‘All round view’ by Imran Khan
  • ‘Controversially Yours’ by Shoaib Akhtar
  • Cricket Archive (www.cricketarchive.com)
  • PTV Sports (sports.ptv.com.pk)
  • Pakistan Cricket Board (www.pcb.com.pk)

This blog was first published on Pak Tea House: Episode 1, Episode 2.

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The Unpredictables – Part III: 1960s

Featured Image

Pakistan as a country has been through a number of highs and lows since traumatic partition in 1947 and its cricket has followed the similar pattern in direct proportion, showing how this sport is embedded in social, political and cultural facets of the country. Initially dispersed, unrecognised, underfunded and weak, Pakistan’s cricket team grew to become a major force in world cricket. If cricket is known for its glorious uncertainties, Pakistan team is even more notorious for its unpredictability. In this series of blogs we shall dig into social, political, cultural and sporting history of cricket in Pakistan.

Read previous parts here:

 Part I – 1940s: Partition and Founding Stones of Cricket in Pakistan (1947 – 1950)

 Part II – 1950s: Pakistan announces itself to cricket world (1951 – 1960) 


 

Part III – 1960s: The Lost Decade (1961 – 1970)

Pakistan cricket was now undergoing a swift decline. Pakistan entered into international cricket with a bang in 1950s. In its very first decade of cricket, it played 29 Test matches of which they won 8, lost 9 and drew 12 – an impressive beginning for the ‘babes of cricket’. Pakistan had a unique record of winning at least one test match in first series against every opponent.

1960s was a complete contrast to 1950s. Pakistan won just 2 Tests out of 30 played, both against New Zealand. 8 were lost whereas 20 were drawn. Pakistan cricket was overcome by a morbid defensiveness. Cricketers only goal was to avoid the defeat.

Pakistan in India 1960-61

Fazal Mahmood took Pakistan to India in 1960-61 and all the tests were drawn. This was one of the dullest Test series in history. The enthusiasm and expectation of the crowds contrasted with the boredom and ill-temper of the play. Wisden 1962 recorded that

‘the chief aim of the contestants appeared to be to uphold national prestige by avoiding defeat rather than to take the risk of trying to enforce a decision. Cricket was a secondary interest.’

Nari Contractor and Fazal Mahmood at toss. (Source:ESPNCricinfo)

Nari Contractor and Fazal Mahmood at toss. (Source:ESPNCricinfo)

Though there were useful contributions from Hanif Mohammad, Saeed Ahmed and Imtiaz Ahmed, the quality of cricket was poor and it was an eminently forgettable series, so much so that Pakistan and India did not play against each other for another 17 years though this had more to do with the fragile political relations between the two countries than with cricket.

Pakistan was now caught in a treacherous transition as many senior players, including great Kardar and Fazal, had retired and the new entrants lacked the experience. Almost 20 years would pass before Pakistan experienced cricketing fulfilment again.

Pakistan cricket in crises

Kardar’s team had reflected the hope, confidence and exuberance of Jinnah’s newly created Pakistan which had faded by now. Ayub Khan’s dictatorship imposed a pattern of conformism on Pakistan society that found its way onto the cricket field and did not lift until the emergence of ZA Butto and his Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) at the start of the 1970s.

In 1950s, the key to Pakistan victories was the fast bowling, as would be the case in future after 1970s. Pakistan’s best blowers in 1960s were spinners – Mushtaq Muhammad, Pervez Sajjad and Intikhab Alam. Moreover, due to financial crises many talented and ambitious players moved out of Pakistan for livelihood. Among them the prominent were Mushtaq and Khalid Ibadullah.

Pervez Sajjad

Pervez Sajjad

Mushtaq Mohammad

Mushtaq Mohammad

Khalid Ibadullah

Khalid Ibadullah

Intikhab Alam

Intikhab Alam

A further problem was lack of government support for the game. Today cricket is recognised as the national game, but it was not the case in Pakistan’s early decades. Games like Hockey and Lawn Tennis received huge grants from government whereas cricket received nothing or very less comparatively.

Pakistan found it very hard to obtain international opposition during 1960s. On average the team would play just 3 tests a year, and in both 1963 and 1966 there were no Tests at all. Fazal was written off by the selectors after the tour of India. Pakistan reverted to the situation of the late 1940s, when it was starved of international cricket and therefore dependent on wandering sides, or series against non-Test playing countries such as Ceylon or Kenya.

Pakistan’s 1962 tour of England 

For Pakistan’s tour of England in 1962, a relatively unknown Javed Burki was appointed captain. He had played for Oxford and toured India with Pakistan in 1960-61. Although Burki’s appointment proved disastrous, AR Cornelius’s choice looked sensible at that time.

Brigadier ‘Gussy’ Haider towering over the 1962 Pakistan touring team. Those standing from left to right: Javed Akhtar, Munir Malik, Imtiaz Ahmad, Captian Javed Burki, the Baggage Master, Brigadier Haider, Fazal Mahmood, Alimuddin, Mushtaq Mohammad and Nasim ul Ghani. Crouching down at the front, from left to right: Wallis Mathias, Afaq Hussain, Asif Ahmed and Intikhab Alam (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne

Brigadier ‘Gussy’ Haider towering over the 1962 Pakistan touring team. Those standing from left to right: Javed Akhtar, Munir Malik, Imtiaz Ahmad, Captian Javed Burki, the Baggage Master, Brigadier Haider, Fazal Mahmood, Alimuddin, Mushtaq Mohammad and Nasim ul Ghani. Crouching down at the front, from left to right: Wallis Mathias, Afaq Hussain, Asif Ahmed and Intikhab Alam (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne

It turned out to be a catastrophic tour and Pakistan was beaten, the only positive feature being centuries by Nasim-ul-Ghani and Burki in the Lord’s test match, which Pakistan, in any event, lost. Midway through the tour Fazal was flown to reinforce the bowling but alas he was well past it. The Oval hero of 1954 had become The Oval zero. It did no justice to this legendary bowler who perhaps should have remained retired.

After the 1962 fiasco in England, Pakistan would not be allowed by Lord’s to undertake a full five-test tour of England for about a quarter of a century. Shuja-ud-Din called it ‘the lowest and most depressing point in the history of Pakistan cricket.’

Finally some success

Hanif Mohammad was made captain of Pakistan for a short tour of Australia in 1964-65 and in the only test match played, he came within a whisker of making 100 in each innings – 103 and 93 – a performance that was warmly lauded by Sir Donald Bradman and there can be no higher praise. Pakistan team included 6 debutants and 2 of them, Asif Iqbal and Majid Khan, opened the bowling. The match ended in a draw and many viewed that Pakistan was invariably too defensive to create a real winning chance.

Asif Iqbal

Asif Iqbal

 

Majid Khan

Majid Khan

Almost immediately after the drawn game in Karachi, Hanif led Pakistan team on a 4 Test tour of Australasia – 3 matches against New Zealand and 1 against Australia. Majid Khan did not tour because, so the Australians insisted, he threw the ball.

Pakistan was insulted again by being given only one Test on their visit to Australia in 1964-65, although Australia had no other international commitments. Pakistan drew the match, thanks to two fine displays by Hanif of 104 and 93 in each innings.

The action then moved to New Zealand for a three test match series between two of the weakest cricketing nations of the world at that time. On the one hand, neither side was good enough to score many runs; On the other hand, neither side was good enough to bowl the other out. All the three tests ended in draw.

Two months later New Zealand returned to Pakistan, playing no preliminary matches and going straight into a Test at Rawalpindi. Pakistan finally tasted success by winning the match by an innings and 64 runs. Majid, after resolving his action, was back in the team but Pakistan’s match winner was the slow left-arm bowler Pervez Sajjad, who destroyed New Zealand in their 2nd innings with figures of 12-8-5-4 as New Zealand collapsed from 57-2 to 59-9. Pakistan ultimately won the series 2-0, Hanif continuing in his excellent form, making 203 in the Lahore test match. But new players were pressing their claims, chief among them Asif Iqbal and Majid Khan.

Cricket in backdrop of war

Pakistan had no chance to build on victories against New Zealand as shortly after the series war broke out with India. The War of 1965 was a culmination of skirmishes that took place between April 1965 and September 1965 between Pakistan and India. Between the culmination of war on September 23, 1965 and the end of the decade, Pakistan would play only 9 Test matches, 6 against England. More than 3 years would pass until Pakistan hosted another home Test, 7 years before they next played Australia, 10 years before they next played West Indies, and 13 years before their next Test against India.

An image from 1965 War between Pakistan and India.

An image from 1965 War between Pakistan and India.

Pakistan’s cricket was from this point overshadowed by political chaos. President Ayub Khan became more autocratic – continuing to rule through emergency legislation, sacking ZA Bhutto as foreign minister in 1966 and ordering arrest of Sheikh Mujib on charges of conspiring with India. The political crises and war had led to the total secession of East Pakistan from cricket.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

 

Sheikh Mujib

Sheikh Mujib

Cricket returns

Almost two years passed since the end of the war before Pakistan was presented with another chance to impress in the Test arena. By now they were the forgotten team of international cricket.

In 1967, Pakistan toured England with Hanif as captain. It was a summer of mixed fortunes. At Lord‘s, Hanif Mohammad played an innings that was out of character for him. Associated with stodginess and the ability to drop anchor and shore up the innings, Hanif made 187 not out, an innings that sparkled, that lit up Lord’s and amazed, pleasantly, his devoted fans. He batted as if he had something to prove. Considered vulnerable against genuine fast bowling, he was particularly severe on John Snow, laying to rest the myth that quick bowlers could intimidate him.

Hanif Mohammad introduces Khalid Ibadullah to the Queen at Lord’s, 1967. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne)

Hanif Mohammad introduces Khalid Ibadullah to the Queen at Lord’s, 1967. (Source: ‘Wounded Tiger’ by Peter Oborne)

Family conference: Mushtaq, Hanif and a youthful Sadiq Mohammad pictured during the Pakistan tour of England, 1967. (Source: ‘The Pakistani Masters’ by Bill Ricquier)

Family conference: Mushtaq, Hanif and a youthful Sadiq Mohammad pictured during the Pakistan tour of England, 1967. (Source: ‘The Pakistani Masters’ by Bill Ricquier)

 That particular test match was drawn but had Pakistan gambled on taking their chances, they could have won it. They chose safety. They lost the other test matches, but at The Oval, Asif Iqbal who was mainly a bowler who could bat, played an innings of such astonishing ferocity that the jury of those who picked the man of the match had to change their candidate. Asif Iqbal made 146 and with Inthikab Alam, who made 51, put on 90 for the ninth wicket, a record. The fact that the series had been lost was forgotten in the euphoria of this innings. It was a pedigreed innings that established him as a front rank batsman.

Asif Iqbal batting during the first test against England in 1967. (Source: ‘The Pakistani Masters’ by Bill Ricquier)

Asif Iqbal batting during the first test against England in 1967. (Source: ‘The Pakistani Masters’ by Bill Ricquier)

Political turmoil and further cricket isolation

By the late 1960s, Pakistan was in the grip of two simultaneous revolutions. In the West, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto launched his PPP with an ambitious manifesto to take advantage of the growing revulsion against Ayub Khan’s faltering dictatorship. 1000 miles away in the East Pakistan, Sheikh Mujib’s Awami League (AL) dominated the political scene and was raining its demands. It drew up the Six-Point Programme, which demanded almost total economic, fiscal, legislative and military separation. Serious clashes broke out between protestors and the police and army.

It was amid of this environment national instability, great danger and looming tragedy that the 1969 MCC tour took place. Pakistan was facing the greatest crises of its short history and its survival was uncertain. For the majority of English players, the tour would provide the most terrifying days of their lives.

When Mike Smith brought the England team in 1968-69, Hanif Mohammad had been given the sack and Saeed Ahmed was appointed captain. All the three matches were drawn. The Test matches rather served as rallying points for the agitators. The tour programme was changed when MCC arrived. It was further changed to restore Dacca to the fixture list after days of political manoeuvring.

Rioting broke out on the first day of the Test in Lahore, and the match was never free from disorder. In Dacca, law and order had broken down completely. The police and military had been withdrawn, and left wing students claimed to be in control. The Second Test was understandably disturbed by rowdiness. Finally the trouble reached breaking point, even for the politicians and diplomats who were so long-suffering at the expense of others, during the Karachi Test. The match was abandoned before the first innings had been completed and the tour abruptly ended an outcome which had long appeared inevitable.

The main action was now off the pitch. An old and ill man, Ayub, who had ruled Pakistan for longer than anyone before or since, urged his commander-in-chief, Yahya Khan, to assume power and impose martial law.

New Zealand tour of Pakistan and First General Elections in Pakistan

Two domestic tournaments were used to be played during the period, Quaid-e-Azam Trophy and Ayub Trophy. 7 teams – including all 4 from East Pakistan refused to play in Ayub trophy. The find of these two tournaments was youthful, as yet uncapped, Zaheer Abbas who was leading batsman in both competitions.

Zaheer Abbas

Zaheer Abbas

New Zealand toured Pakistan in 1969-70. Pakistan had another captain, Inthikab Alam. It was in this series that the youngest of the brothers Sadiq Mohammad made his debut while his brother, the legendary Hanif retired or more probably was made to retire. It was an unworthy end to a great career but unlike army generals who just fade away, Pakistani sportsmen are simply discarded when their use-by date expires. Pakistan lost the three match series 1-0.

General elections were held for the first time in the history of Pakistan on December 7, 1970, although the polls in East Pakistan, originally scheduled for October, were delayed by disastrous floods and rescheduled for later in December and January 1971. The results of the election saw the AL win a majority of seats, 167 out of 169 seats in East Pakistan. In the West Pakistan, ZA Bhutto’s PPP surprised everyone by winning 85 seats. However, the President of Pakistan, Yahya Khan never handed power to AL, which triggered mass uprising in East Pakistan. The cricket was suffering amid this political chaos.

The Pakistan Television (PTV) election cell during general elections of 1970.

The Pakistan Television (PTV) election cell during general elections of 1970.

Wisden’s Player of Year during decade of 60s: Mushtaq Mohammad (1963), Hanif Muhammad (1968), Majid Khan (1970)

 

 

Continued…

Next in ‘The Unpredictables’ series: Part IV – 1970s: Revival of Pakistan cricket 


Sources:

  • Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack
  • ‘Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan’ by Peter Oborne
  • ‘The Pakistani Masters’ by Bill Ricquier
  • ESPNcricinfo archives (www.espncricinfo.com)
  • ‘Cricket Cauldron: The Turbulent Politics of Sport in Pakistan’ by Shaharyar M. Khan and Ali Khan
  • Imran Khan’s Autobiography ‘Pakistan: A Personal History’
  • ‘All round view’ by Imran Khan
  • ‘Controversially Yours’ by Shoaib Akhtar
  • Cricket Archive (www.cricketarchive.com)
  • PTV Sports (sports.ptv.com.pk)
  • Pakistan Cricket Board (www.pcb.com.pk)

This blog was first published on Pak Tea House.

Book Review: “Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan” by Peter Oborne

The eternal drama of Pakistan cricket never ceases to fascinate the fans of Cricket game. Why would it? There are only few teams in world cricket, rather world sports, as unpredictable and mercurial as Pakistan. They will be a laughing stock one day with their amateurish performance and next day exhibit elated panache with ability to beat best in the world. If not for Pakistani cricket team, cricket would have been the most boring sport of the world.

Pakistan as a country has been through a number of ups and downs since traumatic partition in 1947 and its cricket has followed the similar pattern in direct proportion, perfectly summing up what this sport means to this country. Initially dispersed, unrecognised, underfunded and weak, Pakistan’s cricket team grew to become a major force in world cricket, explains Peter Oborne in his book “Wounded Tiger: A History of Cricket in Pakistan”. Packed with memories from former players and top administrators, and digging deep into political, social and cultural history, this book is major study of sport and nationhood of Pakistan.

For cricket enthusiast and lovers like me who grew up watching sports in 1990s and 2000s derive inspiration from likes of Imran Khan, Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Inzamam ul Haq, Muhammad Yousaf, Shoaib Akhtar, Shahid Afridi, Misbah ul Haq and Saeed Ajmal. We are not much aware of the cricket history and heroes before 90s. That is why the first half of the book which analyses Pakistan cricket from partition to 1980s was the best part for me. The book provided, in a smooth free flowing manner, a brilliant narrative of drama, politics, jokes and personalities of that era.

The book starts with a focus on the trauma of partition of 1947 and a particular focus on the lives of the two early heroes of Pakistani cricket: Abdul Hafeez Kardar and Fazal Mahmood. Kardar and Justice Cornelius were in some senses the creators of Pakistan’s cricket. Cornelius was a brilliant man who was vice-president of Board of Control of Cricket in Pakistan (BCCP) and later become Chief Justice of Pakistan. They formed a formidable partnership to help Pakistan achieving an uphill task of Test-playing nation. Kardar could often be seen cruel and intolerant but he was ultimately driven by passionate belief in the honour of Pakistan. Fazal Mahmood was the early instigator of a fast bowling tradition that has been backbone of great Pakistani cricketing sides over the years. It was emotional to read that Fazal on the way back to Pakistan from the camp in India after partition in 1947 would have been lynched by Hindu fanatics on a train were it not for the legendary Indian cricketer C K Nayudu, who defended Mahmood with his cricket bat.

The cricketing story of a decade and a half after the partition as narrated in the book is simply exhilarating. The exuberance of the cricket of this period seemed intertwined with the task of nation-building. The first Pakistani tour of India, victory at oval in 1954, India’s tour of Pakistan, the touring English MCC team’s kidnapping of a Pakistani umpire, exciting encounters with teams of West Indies and Australia, supremacy of Mohammads of Karachi and Burkis of Lahore, batting heroics of Muhammad Hanif and deadly bowling due of Fazal and Khan Muhammad – all of these have been told with a great mixture of drama, wit and charm.

Source: "Wounded Tiger" by Peter Oborne

Source: “Wounded Tiger” by Peter Oborne

The book wandered in middle during the epochs of 60s and early 70s just like middle overs of a One Day match innings – slow in tempo but engaging. 1960s was a difficult period for cricket in Pakistan, which Oborne terms as ‘a lost decade’. In the 1960s, Pakistan won just two tests out of 30 played, both against New Zealand. Eight were lost, while 20 were drawn. Pakistan cricket was overcome by a morbid defensiveness. Avoiding defeat became the height of national ambition.

As the cricket entered its golden era in 1970s, the shape of Pakistani cricket started to change on positive note as well. The revolt of players against AH Kardar, administrator at that time, marked the transition. In 1976 the national side, hardened to defeat for so long time was suddenly stronger, angrier and more motivated capable of beating any side in the world. The team was fantastically led by attacking captain, Mushtaq Muhammad. Team had perfect balance of age and youth: Majid Khan, Asif Iqbal, Wasim Bari, Zaheer Abbas, Sarfraz Nawaz joined by new generation, of whom Imran Khan and Javed Miandad were soon to turn into giants.

Source: "Wounded Tiger" by Peter Oborne

Source: “Wounded Tiger” by Peter Oborne

The book also touches the strong sense of Pakistan how it has been unfairly treated across the global community and press, particularly England. Javed Miandad’s batting achievements were undermined by an abrasive reputation. Imran Khan was portrayed as a “not especially gifted cricketer” in contrast to someone who was “always learning, always seeking to improve himself and always seeking out responsibility”.

Imran Khan and Javed Miandad formed a formidable partnership which took Pakistani cricket to great heights in 80s and 90s. Imran took charge of Pakistani team at vital moment of its cricketing history and Pakistani cricket came of age during that period. Pakistan cricketers were no longer patronised by the dominant white cricketing nations. Instead, they came to be feared and resented.

Two discoveries stand out during that period, Oborne explains. First one was the reverse swing. It was pioneered by Sarfraz Nawaz, passed on by Imran Khan to two Ws, Wasim and Waqar, who mastered it perfectly. Reverse swing became a primary cause of estrangement between Pakistan and white cricket nations in 1990s. Second was more of a rediscovery. It was emergence of wrist bowling in form of magician Abdul Qadir who was discovered by Imran.

Source: "Wounded Tiger" by Peter Oborne

Source: “Wounded Tiger” by Peter Oborne

Source: "Wounded Tiger" by Peter Oborne

Source: “Wounded Tiger” by Peter Oborne

Source: "Wounded Tiger" by Peter Oborne

Source: “Wounded Tiger” by Peter Oborne

Pakistan was in disarray going into 1992 World Cup held in Australia and New Zealand. After a dismal start the cornered tigers were lifted by great leadership of Imran and Miandad’s consistency under pressure, who took Pakistan all the way to the final to lift the greatest prize of World Cricket.

Source: "Wounded Tiger" by Peter Oborne

Source: “Wounded Tiger” by Peter Oborne

Pakistan cricket grew to altogether new levels in 1990s and 2000s marked by great victories and fight backs. Cricket which used by a game of urban upper-middle class people became a game of lower-middle class persons. Cricket grew geographically which was supported by financial revolution. However, this period was also marred by curse of match fixing, the Justice Qayyum report and spot fixing allegations in 2010 which resulted in ban of trio Salman Butt, Muhammad Asif and Muhammad Amir. It also faced an age of isolation post 9/11 attacks when various teams refused to visit Pakistan on a number of occasions.

Source: "Wounded Tiger" by Peter Oborne

Source: “Wounded Tiger” by Peter Oborne

Pakistan had a bright moment in 2009 when it won T20 World Cup under captaincy of Yonis Khan. However there was horrible moment too in same year. In 2009, as the Sri Lankan cricket team were on their way to a Test in Lahore, their team bus was attacked by militant gunmen. Since then Pakistan has played its home cricket in the UAE. Oborne remarks that against such a background, it seems miraculous that the game exists at all, let alone is considered by Pakistanis as their pride and joy.

Misbah-ul-Haq took over captaincy of a dejected Pakistani team. The task he faced was far more difficult than any previous captain, including AH Kardar. He had to lead a cricket team in exile, deal with constant charges of corruption and match-fixing, and confront a chaotic administration. Oborne has rightly put in his book that it speaks volumes for the character of Misbah who took the challenge and led team by example, self-belief and courage.

Source: "Wounded Tiger" by Peter Oborne

Source: “Wounded Tiger” by Peter Oborne

‘Wounded Tiger’, Winner of the 2004 William Hill Sports Book of the Year, is not just about presenting a fascinating picture of story and characters of Pakistan cricket. It recognises the “beauty” of Pakistan with its ever-present follies. From the uncertainty over the ages of the record-breaking “teenaged debutants” to “master inventors” and the most shrewd of tacticians to the ability of pulling out surprises that is unique to Pakistan alone.

The following excerpt from the book perfectly sums up the nature of Pakistan and its cricket:

 “Everywhere I went in Pakistan, I was aware that people feel a huge sense of pride in their country. This pride expresses itself through the cricket team, whose white clothing against a green field nearly matches the colours of the national flag. Cricket is the game of the villages; it is the game of the towns. It is the game of the old; it is the game of the young, the rich and the poor. It is played in the plains of the Sindh and in the mountains of the north. It is played by the army and the Taliban. It is enjoyed by all Pakistan’s sects and religions. It is part of Pakistan’s history and also its future. It is magical and marvellous. Nothing else expresses half so well the singularity, the genius, the occasional madness of the people of Pakistan, and their contribution to the world sporting community.”

My rating of the book 8/10.


This blog was published on Pak Tea House.

FBTwitter picture

Is this Jinnah’s Pakistan?

As the Independence Day, August 14, comes nearer national flags can be seen — hoisted on the government and private buildings, houses, markets, cars, trucks and motorcycles.

repainting_flag

Every Pakistani is aware what the flag of our country, adopted during a meeting of Constituent Assembly on August 14, 1947, symbolises. The white and dark green fields represent minorities and Muslims respectively. The crescent on the flag represents progress whereas the five-rayed star represents light and knowledge. What is depressing to see is that sixty seven years on we are still struggling to live up to what our national flag truly symbolises.

The size of the white portion on flag is one-fourth of its size and it was an accurate depiction of Pakistan at the time of partition in 1947 – almost 23 per cent of country’s population was comprised of non-Muslim citizens. Today, the proportion of non-Muslims has declined to approximately 3 per cent – an perfect display of Pakistani paradox.

Two events from the year 1979 sum up this Pakistani paradox. It was a landmark year in the history of the country as Dr Abdus Salam became the first Pakistani to win the Nobel Prize in physics for his pioneering work in developing a theory that unifies the weak nuclear force within atoms and the force of electromagnetism.Abdus-Salam-Nobel-Prize In December of the same year he was prevented from speaking at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad by extremist students who carried out a violent demonstration to protest his presence – reason being Dr Salam was an Ahmadi.

On the one hand, the country produces brilliant doctors, scientists, engineers and professionals competing with best in the world. On the other, imbecile religious extremists rampage across the country, killing in the name of Islam. A reality which is more alarming is that their supporters have infiltrated and obtained a foothold in every organ of the state, be it the media, the bureaucracy, the military, the parliament or the judiciary.

When we try to dig in and find reasons behind rise of religious extremism in Pakistan the foremost reason we come across is the kind of distorted history that is taught right from the early days of our children in schools. The effect of this brain washing is permanent as by the time they grow up they tend to become rigid in respect of distorted and tweaked facts they have been indoctrinated with. One of such tweaking of the history is the ‘Two Nation Theory’, which led to incorrect belief that Pakistan was created as a religious state.

Whenever we try to put this so-called theory to a logical test, its results always fail to evidence its ‘religious’ or ‘theological’ nature which it is portrayed as. We don’t find a single trace of two-nation theory when India was ruled by minority Muslims. If religion is not sufficient to bind Muslims living in over fifty countries as one nation, how can it bind Muslims of Sub-Continent into one? Why Muslim countries have visa requirement for one another? Why do the more wealthy Muslim countries not grant nationality to less privileged Muslims from other countries? Why did a Muslim population greater than that in West Pakistan or East Pakistan decided to remain in India after the partition? We could not even retain East Pakistan after the partition. The bitter reality of Islamic history is that Muslims have killed more Muslims as compared to non-Muslims. The theory has always failed to stand up to logical facts and evidence and been misused for religious bigotry.

When Pakistan was founded in 1947, its secular founding fathers wanted to create a homeland for sub-continent’s Muslims, not an Islamic state, along with equal rights for non-Muslims – a stark contrast to theological portrayal of the two-nation theory. ZafrulahReflecting his secular views, Muhammad Ali Jinnah nominated a Hindu, several Shias (he himself being a khoja Shia) and an Ahmadi to Pakistan’s first cabinet. Jinnah’s secular views were demonstrated not only during the struggle for independence but in his famous speech on August 11, 1947, the same day when the flag was adopted:

“You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place or worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed that has nothing to do with the business of the State….

We are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State….

Now I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State….”

Unfortunately, Jinnah could not live longer to provide stability and strong foundation to the country and passed away just a year after the partition. The irony is that the clergy who opposed Jinnah and creation of Pakistan later hijacked the country in the name of Islam. The roots of religiosity lie in the blueprint and arguments of Abul Ala Maududi, founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), to transform Pakistan into an Islamic state.Syed-Maududi The extent of Maududi’s influence became visible as early as 1949, when the Objectives Resolution, defining the foundational principle for Pakistan’s Constitution was passed by the Constituent Assembly, setting the foundation of intolerance, over-religiosity and disillusionment permeating the country in present era.

Since partition Pakistan turned into a hard core religious state over the course of time. Through the constitution of 1974 the nature of identity of Muslim was changed from an ethnic one to religious one, probably the gravest mistake by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to give in to demands of clergy.

It was exploited in worst manner by General Zia Ul Haq who ruled from 1977-88 by imposing a policy of state-led Islamization. As part of this process he brought in rules and regulations to bring Pakistani law more into tune with Sharia, ‘the Sharia as interpreted by him and his cohorts’. These laws, which included the infamous blasphemy law, had a long-term impact on Pakistan’s minorities and to-date being used to persecute religious minorities on regular basis.

Religious minorities have been on worst receiving end over last 25 to 30 years, particularly last 5 years or so, as a result of Zia’s state-led Islamization process. A large number Hindus have migrated or left Pakistan – reason being abduction, rape, coerced conversions, extortion, blackmailing and kidnapping.

In 2009, a mob of thousands, fuelled with the notion that some Christian man had ‘allegedly’ destroyed a page of the Quran, burned down 50 Christian homes in the town of Gojra. In March 2013 over 100 homes owned by Christians, as well as 2 small churches, were set ablaze by thousands of angry Muslims in Lahore over ‘alleged’ blasphemy. The deadliest attack on the Christian minority in the history of Pakistan took place in September 2013 when a twin suicide bomb attack took place at All Saints Church in Peshawar in which 127 people were killed and over 250 injured.

Ahmadis have been declared non-Muslims by the writ of state and have faced severe persecution since then. Just recently on the last night of the Month of Ramzan, a mob attacked Ahmadi houses in Gujranwala over ‘alleged’ blasphemy. Four people were burnt alive; there was an unborn child also who died in womb due to suffocation.

In January, and then again in March, 2014, two Sikhs were gunned down in Charsadda by unidentified men. A couple of days back, a trader belonging to the Sikh community was killed and two others were injured in an attack on three shops in a market in Hashnagri in Peshawar. There is a small Sikh community of 25,000 in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) who is being targeted regulalry in recent years.

Until recently, Pakistan’s Shias, who make up about 20-25% of the population, did not have the self-image of a religious minority. They had joined Sunnis to declare Ahmadis as non-Muslim in 1974. But now they are deeply worried as voices from the extreme Sunni right shrilly demand that Shias also be labelled kafirs. Tribal areas are facing violent sectarian warfare: Kurram, Parachinar, and Hangu are killing grounds for both Sunni and Shia, but with most casualties being Shia. Hazara Shias have been regularly targeted and killed. Even in bigger cities Shias are facing target killing.

Irony is that even the Muslim majority represented by green colour of our flag is not safe. Ordinary Pakistanis have borne the brunt of terrorism from Taliban who want to impose their own version of Sharia. Over fifty thousand innocent Pakistani have lost their lives in last ten years or so as result of terrorism. Taliban have not differentiated Pakistani citizens on basis of religion during their terrorist activities. However, when Muslims differentiate and persecute non-Muslims using tools of flawed laws; it presents a very dangerous situation.

A really absurd display of Zia’s Islamization legacy came back to haunt Pakistan during the elections May 2013. While the nomination papers of moderate and liberal civilian politicians were rejected on regular basis on the grounds that they did not pass the ‘litmus test’ of religiosity and commitment to Pakistan’s ideology, the militant and terrorist leaders faced no such problem.

Operations like Zarb-e-Azb will certainly help in eradicating terrorism to a certain extent, being mainly limited to physical eradication of terrorists. However, the government, the intelligentsia and the leaders have to make efforts to eradicate the intolerant mind-set that is so rampant across the country, even in so called literates. We have to work on nation building and move forward from disillusioning concepts of Muslim nation and one ummah. Being Muslim is a given but being Pakistani was taken. We shall have to reimagine Pakistan as a state that treats all of its citizens equally and curb its enthusiasm for militancy. Tolerance, religious harmony and equality are the values that will make Pakistan a country as was envisioned by our Great Leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah – whose soul will be perturbed looking at today’s Pakistan.


 

This article was published on Pak Tea House.

Are Pakistan and Israel Similar Ideological States?

The Israeli onslaught on Gaza enters its third week; more and more evidence of atrocities is being made public, producing widespread expressions of outrage around the world. There have been numerous protests around the world against the war crimes being committed by Israel whereas political leadership of the world, Muslim in particular, remains in slumber. The deaths hike the total Palestinian toll to 583 since the Israeli military launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8 in a bid to stamp out rocket fire from Gaza.

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During this period I have been engaged in several debates on different perspectives surrounding the Palestine – Israel conflict. One of these perspectives has been ‘drawing parallels on the similarity between Pakistan and Israel’. After engaging in debates with many, I thought it would be better to put down my arguments in writing.

Pakistan is like Israel in that both countries were formed on the basis of religion as a result of partition of the countries that already existed and caused large population displacements – it is a very common argument put forward when comparing Pakistan with Israel. Also this remark of ex-ruler of Pakistan, Zia-ul-Haq is commonly referred to support this argument:

“Pakistan is like Israel, an ideological state. Take out the Judaism from Israel and it will fall like a house of cards. Take Islam out of Pakistan and make it a secular state; it would collapse.”

–       The Economist, December 1981

The above statements might have a slight degree of validity but are sweeping factual statements without giving regard to factors and facts underlying beneath these statements. If we dig in to unearth those facts, striking contrasts between two states are unveiled.

To start with, the demand of Pakistan as a separate homeland was limited to the geographical location of South Asia. The ‘Two Nation Theory’ which is commonly argued as basis for the creation of Pakistan never claimed that Muslims all around the globe were a one nation. Rather the theory is based on the premise that Indian Muslims were a separate nation on the basis of language, traditions, culture, etc. The theory being theological in nature and making a case for of religion as basis of Pakistan’s creation is a flawed argument and is a separate debate. However, the emphasis is that demand for Pakistan was a separate state for Muslims already living here.

Now if we compare this to Israel, there is stark contrast. The basic premise of the Zionist movement, founded by Theodor Herzl, highlights the difference clearly. Zionism is the founding ideology of the land of Israel. Zionism’s basic premise is that Jews irrespective of their geographic location, ethnic identity or socioeconomic background constitute a nation and thus deserve a national homeland – territory defined as the Land of Israel. Therefore Israel was a demand for all Jews everywhere in the world.

The Lahore resolution passed in 1940 called for sovereign states in the Muslim majority areas of India – areas that were going to become Pakistan was already populated by Muslims. In comparison as per the basic premise of Zionism, their homeland is to be situated in the Biblical land of Israel.  Whether that land is populated by someone else is a non-issue — a land without people for a people without land.

If we look at the historical geography of the current territory of Pakistan, (West Pakistan before separation of East Pakistan), it has always been a distinct, unique territory with regions being always bound together by mighty ‘Indus River’. As Aitzaz Ahsan explains in his book ‘The Indus Saga’:

“Indus (Pakistan) has a rich and glorious cultural heritage of its own. This is a distinct heritage, of a distinct and separate nation. There is, thus no fear of any other country devouring or destroying the state. During the last 6000 years Indus has, indeed, remained independent of and separate from India for almost five and a half thousand years. Only the three ‘Universal States’, those of the Mauryans, the Mughals, and the British, welded these two regions together in single empires. And aggregate period of these ‘Universal States’ was not more than five hundred years.

For the remainder, from prehistory to the nineteenth century, Indus has been Pakistan. 1947 was only a reassertion of that reality. It was the reuniting of the various units, the Frontier, the Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and Kashmir once again in a primordial federation. The mohajirs, who reverted to the Indus in 1947 and thereafter, were the sons and daughters returning to the mother. As such, ‘Pakistan’ preceded even the advent of Islam in the subcontinent. It was not merely ‘a chasm that one people created for themselves in the ten short years from 1937 to 1947’, as some Indians may like to believe.”

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Source: ‘Indus Saga’ by Aitezaz Ahsan

Source: 'Indus Saga' by Aitezaz Ahsan

Source: ‘Indus Saga’ by Aitezaz Ahsan

In contrast, as explained above, Herzl called for an establishment of a home/state for the Jewish people in Palestine, to be called Israel. In World War I, the Ottoman Empire sided with Germany. As a result, it was embroiled in a conflict with Great Britain. Under the secret Sykes–Picot Agreement of 1916, it was envisioned that most of Palestine, when freed from Ottoman control, would become an international zone not under direct French or British colonial control. Shortly thereafter, British foreign minister Arthur Balfour issued the Balfour Declaration of 1917:

“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

The British captured Jerusalem a month later, and were formally awarded a mandate which was approved by the League of Nations in 1922. The 1922 census of Palestine recorded the population of Palestine as 757,000, of which 78% were Muslims, 11% were Jews, 10% were Christians and 1% were Druze. After the World War II and the Holocaust of Jews, the British Government terminated the mandate and United Nations voted to partition the territory. So clearly here a state was developed for people who were not inhabitants of the region.

In case of creation of state of Pakistan, there was political consultation. The partition was accepted by political stakeholders who represented the people of this very region. The provinces or regions that were to form Pakistan were those presented in the Lahore Resolution of 1940. The elections of 1946 were a de-facto referendum on it.

On the other hand, there was nothing similar in case of Palestine and Israel. No one consulted inhabitants of Palestine before deciding that their town, village or city was going to become Israel.

Another angle few argue about is the migrations and displacements of mass scale of people. The displacements in case of Pakistan and India were in both directions, People migrated from Pakistan to India and vice-versa. However, probably a greater population of Muslims as compared to those in Pakistan decided to remain in India. The migration and effects of partition were bloody which could have been avoided. Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs; all suffered and lost in the disaster.

Displacement in Palestine was and is one directional i.e. Jews in and Palestinians out. Nearly all the population of the Israel is migrated whereas in comparison the migrant population in Pakistan was roughly around five to six percent.

Although, Jinnah announced, in August 1947, that Pakistan would be a secular state, it became a hard core religious state only after 1970s. Through 1974 constitution the nature of identity of Muslim was changed from an ethnic one to religious one. The roots of this religiosity, however, date back to the Objectives Resolution of 1949.

Ben Gurion, first prime minister of Israel, declared Israel a secular liberal democracy in 1948 and Israel has stuck to it to-date. Israel has not defined its Jewish identity on religious grounds rather ethnic and cultural grounds.

Last but not the least, any Jew born anywhere in the World, is eligible to become an Israeli citizen. As explained above, Israel by its very nature and design is a homeland for the Jewry of the world. Pakistan, however, is a homeland for people of Pakistan. It was not envisioned to make a homeland for all of the Muslims of the world. Anyone can become a citizen of Pakistan if one desires.

Pakistan is bigger and far more diverse state with plethora of complex problems as compared to Israel. Pakistan consists of diverse ethnicities and cultures and populations of various religions and sects. Israel’s identity is one i.e. Jewish. Therefore, Pakistan and Israel being similar is factually incorrect sweeping statement.


 

This article was published on Pak Tea House.